You’ve established a regular blogging schedule, your advertising campaigns are working like clockwork, and your sales are steadily going up. What’s next? If only there was a way to drive even more growth in a short space of time.
There’s a solution. According to this study, partnership marketing is ranked as the seventh most impactful marketing technique, ranking higher than common activities like blogging and email marketing. Teaming up with other relevant brands can explode your reach and help tap into markets that you’ve otherwise struggled to penetrate.
What is partnership marketing?
Partnership marketing is essentially the act of teaming up with another company or group of companies to promote each other’s services or products and raise brand awareness. You get to reach their audience and they get to reach yours.
There is no real limit on how big your initiatives should be when partnering with other organizations. In fact, some partnership marketing campaigns are as small as Retweeting each other’s posts on Twitter or sharing their latest blog posts. The way you choose to work with partners will completely depend on your brand, your products and services, your audience, and what your overall goals are.
How does partnership marketing work?
The nature of each partnership marketing campaign will vary greatly, but here are a few ways you can team up with like-minded businesses to promote each other’s services and products:
- Speaking engagements and conferences
- Co-hosting (and co-promoting) webinars or talks
- Publishing joint original research and whitepapers
- Co-promoting blog content and email content marketing
- Cross-promoting each other on your websites
- Sponsoring each other’s products or creating a hybrid product
In the first instance, you’ll need to decide what kind of campaign you want to create and the kinds of brands you want to work with. Then, it’s a case of reaching out to said brands and putting the feelers out to see who would be interested in partnering with you. Those that agree should go through a slick onboarding process that highlights everyone’s expectations and ensures the partnership program runs smoothly.
Why you should team up: the benefits of partnership marketing
Two heads are better than one. Safety in numbers. These phrases all spotlight the importance of working together as a team, and partnership marketing is basically putting this into action.
Some key benefits include:
- Increase in brand reach: partnership marketing gives you the chance to reach markets you might otherwise struggle to reach.
- Faster trust establishment: tapping into the audience of a trusted brand automatically transfers a level of trust to you as well.
- Affordable costs: partnership marketing is often far more cost-effective than other marketing efforts since it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Instead of paying out for services, you’re essentially collaborating in the hopes of both companies gaining something.
- Better ideas: collaboration often sparks innovative ideas. Bringing other minds to the table can help you come up with creative opportunities that will stand out and reach more people.
- Value add: by bringing in a partner company to work with you, you’re adding value to the services and products you offer to new customers.
What are the different types of partnership marketing?
Not all partnership marketing campaigns are born equal, and they certainly don’t all look the same. While there are plenty of ways you can partner up with relevant companies, there are three common partnership opportunities that brands map out.
These are essentially partnerships where two brands or influencers with very different but semi-overlapping products come together to promote each other’s offerings. For example, AT&T sponsors the WiFi network at Mcdonald’s. They’re two very different companies, but by promoting each other’s offerings they can reach a wider customer base. Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are prime examples of this, where an influencer endorses a product from another brand and promotes it to their audience.
This type of partnership marketing plan is most commonly seen in the retail industry. Two brands will come together to distribute each other’s products via their own platforms. For example, a grocery chain might run a social media advertising campaign for one of its suppliers to boost sales for both parties.
Affinity marketing partnerships
Two brands might have very different offerings but have a similar audience, which can provide a mutually beneficial opportunity if leveraged in the right way. For example, a soccer team might give away coupons for a free hotdog at a restaurant if the soccer team and the restaurant both have a similar audience.
This can also be expanded to include online advertising activities. A banking app might partner up with an independent mortgage advisor to create an original piece of research they can both share with new audiences.
6 tips for launching a winning partnership marketing program
The benefits of a partnership marketing program are as clear as day, but to unlock them you have to get it right. Successful programs are well-thought-out and take into account each brand’s unique audience and unique needs.
Use these tips to get your digital marketing partner program off to a good start.
1. Choose the right partner brand
The most innovative partnership campaign won’t get the results you want if you’re not partnering with the right people. Choosing brands that have similar goals and complement your products and services is absolutely crucial. When researching and selecting who you want to work with, make sure you consider:
- Brands that are not a direct competitor
- Brands that serve the same audience as you
For example, two banking apps won’t want to step on each other’s toes, but a banking app and a mortgage company will have an overlap in their audiences while still providing very different services.
2. Set your goals in advance
You need to know what you want to get out of your partnership campaigns - otherwise, how will you know if they’re successful or not? The goals you choose will depend on your overriding business plan, your audience, and where you’re currently at in your revenue and sales goals.
When setting your goals, make sure you:
- Use measurable goals that you can easily track (i.e. “increase conversions by X% each month)
- Let your partners know what your goals are
- Choose partner activities that reflect those goals (if you want to increase your Instagram following, make sure your activities are aligned with that)
3. Create a partner marketing landing page
Attracting the right brands to partner with means putting yourself out there. Let relevant companies know you’re open to working with them by adding a partnership marketing landing page to your website. This way, potential partners will know what your expectations are, what kind of activities they can work with you on, and how to start the partner process simply by looking at one page.
Unbounce has an entire page dedicated to promoting its partner program.
Jarvis has a range of templates you can use to create a landing page, especially for partners. Try the AIDA framework or the PAS copywriting formula to build a compelling landing page that partners can’t resist, or use the long-form assistant to create a full-scale landing page promoting your program.
4. Connect with potential partners
Next, the goal is to find the right partners to work with. When conducting your research, remember to look for brands that aren’t competitors but who have a similar target audience to you. You might already have a few brands in mind, but either way, you’re going to have to reach out to them to express your interest.
Use Jarvis’ cold email template to create compelling emails you can send straight to potential partners’ inboxes.
Simply enter a bit of information about your partner program and your brand and Jarvis’ powerful AI technology will come up with a selection of personalized cold emails you can send straight away.
5. Create an agreement
It’s important that everyone is on the same page at all times. To do this, create an agreement that you can send to each partner before you kick off your marketing strategy. Your agreement should include:
- The objectives of the partnership
- The audience you’re targeting
- What duties each brand has
- The resources that each brand is bringing to the table
- Any rules for how (or how not) to promote your product
6. Implement a slick onboarding process
After you’ve set and signed an agreement with your partners, it’s important that you create an onboarding process that’s simple and seamless. This should include things like sharing any tone of voice documents that your partners can use, inviting them to any software you want to collaborate on, and sharing ways they can communicate with you throughout the partnership.
The onboarding process should also include ways that your partners can get support while working with you (and vice versa). If there’s a problem or they have a question, how can they reach you? What measures will you have in place to make sure everyone is on the same page and the campaign stays on track?
Two very different but successful examples of partnership marketing
GoPro and Red Bull
Probably one of the most famous partnerships of all time is between GoPro and Red Bull. Both brands sell very different products (energy drinks and cameras), but they’ve both established themselves as adventurous lifestyle brands with similar audiences. Their campaigns revolve around action sports and adventurous pursuits while promoting each other’s products.
HubSpot and Chatfuel
HubSpot expanded its inbound marketing offerings by partnering with Chatfuel, an AI-powered chatbot. This opened customers’ eyes to the versatility of B2B AI and put both products in front of an audience that would be keen to use them.
Partnership marketing is the perfect way to expand your brand’s reach and tap into new markets. Find companies that share the same audience as you and reach out to them to propose a mutually beneficial partnership. Then, think about the ways you can work together to increase brand awareness, drive exposure, and unlock more revenue. Get started with Jarvis to easily create partnership marketing content.